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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Gilad Shaar’

Home of Alleged Kidnapper/Murderer of ‘Our Boys’ Surrounded

Monday, August 18th, 2014

SEE UPDATE AT END OF ARTICLE

Sunday evening, August 17 – 18, the home of Marwan Kawasme was surrounded by Israeli security and military personnel, as were neighboring homes. The activity is taking place in Daerat alser, which is in the Hebron vicinity.

It is anticipated that Kawasme’s home is about to be demolished.

Kawasme and Amir abu Aisha are believed to be the kidnappers and murderers of the three Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel. The boys were kidnapped at the Gush Etzion Junction on June 12.

The orders for the kidnapping were allegedly given by Kawasme’s relative, Hussam Kawasme. Hussam was arrested on July 11, as he was attempting to flee into Jordan.

On Aug. 5 it was revealed by the Israeli prosecution that while in custody, Kawasme admitted giving orders to kidnap Israelis this past June.

He also admitted collecting weapons and raising funds for the attack by the Hamas members who carried out the attack.

According to the Israeli prosecution, Hussam Kawasme also allegedly helped conceal the bodies of the murdered teenage boys, which were buried on land he had recently bought.

Hussam assisted Marwan in hiding the boys’ dead bodies by burying them on land he had bought in recent months, the state also said. Marwan Kawasme was a convict who was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.

The information was presented by the state to Israel’s High Court of Justice, as part of its justification for requesting the demolition of the residences of the three suspected terrorists.

The demolition request has been pending for some time.

UPDATE: The homes of two of those believed to have planned and kidnapped and murdered Our Boys were demolished last night, and the home of the third suspect was sealed off and will soon be demolished, according to IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

Hussam Kawasme, the suspect who was arrested on July 11 and confessed to being the mastermind of the kidnapping plot, and who helped his clan-mate, Marwan Kawasme, bury the three boys, was demolished, as was that of Amer abu Aisha. The home of Marwan Kawasme was raided and sealed off during the same operation.

 

 

An Israel Love Story With a Twist

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Nora Gold has written a book, Fields of Exile (2014 Dundurn), that is unique in many ways. It provide layer upon layer of insight into various conundrums, both within her novel and within herself as well.

I was asked to review her book. The one thing I was told – indeed, it was all I needed to be told to make me want to read and review it – was that it is the first novel that deals with the rising swell of anti-Israel hatred on western campuses.

And it does. It does that very well.

But the book does much more. It provides a glimpse into the hearts and minds of those whom many in the unconflicted pro-Israel world simply cannot fathom: the leftist Israelis and/or other Jews who, nonetheless, actually love Israel. I am not talking about the faux lovers of Israel, the ones who call themselves “pro-peace and pro-Israel.” I am also excluding all the others who only criticize Israel, never those with whom Israel is locked in combat, and only criticize Israel, never praise her unless she makes major concessions or appeases her enemies, and then only briefly, until the next sacrifice is demanded.

Nora Gold and her Fields of Exile protagonist – Judith Gallanter – both love Israel fervently. And both hate and protest against the “Occupation.”

Judith, an olah, has returned to Canada because her father is dying. Shortly after Judith made aliyah her mother died and Judith wasn’t there. She could not do the same thing to her father. Then, just before her father dies, she promises him she will stay in Canada and get her Master’s degree in social work, so that she can be ably employed and independent in Israel when she returns.

What happens at the social work school and the surprise and betrayal Judith feels when Israel is considered the single worst form of evil on the planet, is something many Israel supporters will understand.

What is different is that Judith also despises the “occupation.” And so does the author. But Judith and Gold really, truly love Israel, identify with Israel and only feel fully alive and connected to and in Israel.

That’s the part that is so hard for many to understand.

Here is where Judith reveals her visceral connection to the land of Israel. She speaks about it as one does a family member who has imperfections but nonetheless is beloved:

Because her love for Israel is something like that. Unconditional. The way many people love their family members. You know all their faults, but still you love them. There are things about Israel she can’t stand. At the top of the list, the occupation, and this government’s treatment of Palestinians. (another definition of domestic violence: domestic policies that are violent.) But it doesn’t matter: Israel is her love. I am my beloved’s and beloved is mine.

Judith explains how that feeling coursed through her, connecting her soul to the land:

In Canada she’d always found geography and history boring, scoring low on her high-school leaving exams in both these subjects. But in Israel she was fascinated by every mountain range, by every excavated tell or Biblical battlefield. Because it was hers. It was about her people, and it told the story of what had happened to them, and therefore to her.

The story in Fields of Exile is multi-layered. The characters are richly drawn, with subtleties in many of the minor characters that make you want to know not only how Judith’s life unfolds, but also that of her social work classmates and her Israeli friends.

Fields of Exile is, in addition to a love story between a woman and the Jewish state, a modern love story between the protagonist and her pragmatic lawyer significant other. One whose significance grows, despite his straight-forward refusal to move to Israel and that, in spite of his less ambiguous support for the Jewish state and the very policies Judith finds repugnant.

Recognizing Moral Distinctions

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

There is a major moral distinction that needs to be taken into account when one considers the murders of Israeli teens Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frankel and the murder of Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir.

The difference is that the Palestinian Authority has embraced such mass murderers as heroes and Israel punishes all murderers, whether they murder Arabs or Jews.

A Palestinian Arab terrorist who murders Israelis knows he may well have streets named after him and that Palestinian Arab children will be taught to emulate him.

In Israel, by contrast, all murderers are condemned across the board, and are severely punished.

The failure of the world to understand this distinction is exacerbating the conflict.

The problem today is that the support for and embrace of mass murderers of Jews is led by the head of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas, and yet world leaders are silent.

Abbas was a leading terrorist for decades; Abu Daoud, one of the terrorists involved in the Munich Olympics massacre, wrote about how Abbas financed it. When Daoud recently died, Abbas eulogized him as a hero.

It took Abbas five days to condemn the kidnapping of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, and world leaders were quick to praise him for it even though he never called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Moreover, we know that should Israel capture the Palestinian murderers of the three teens, Abbas will call for their release, as he has repeatedly called for the release of all Palestinian mass murderers from Israeli jails, including those who murdered most of the Fogel family.

Even worse, the PA takes American aid and uses it to give incentive money to the families of terrorists serving sentences in Israeli jails. This is the case even when the victims are Americans.

The murderers of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were captured on tape celebrating the murders; their identities are known, and yet the world is slow to accept that Hamas is responsible.

The EU’s Catherine Ashton took almost a week to condemn the kidnapping. But when Muhammad Abu Khdeir was murdered, her immediate condemnation was forthcoming. Ashton’s actions have not gone unnoticed by world Jewry.

There is a famous and truthful saying that if Israel disarmed tomorrow it would be eradicated by the Palestinian Arabs, while if the Palestinian Arabs disarmed tomorrow they would lose no land and live happy, peaceful lives.

When missiles are fired from Gaza indiscriminately at civilians there is no outrage. Israel rightfully tries to protect its people by attacking the missile sites – and then we hear about “stopping the cycle of violence” and “restraint.” This has been the world’s consistent, and morally bankrupt, response.

Only if the world stands up for the moral position that Israel has the right to do what is necessary to defend its citizens, and ends the calls for restraint, will things change.

Consider: Would someone have dared call on the United States to “end the cycle of violence” between it and al Qaeda?

Israel is literally fighting for its life, fighting to sustain itself as one state hopefully at peace. It needs to have the freedom to do what is necessary to guarantee that security. All other countries in the world have such freedom. It is the world’s failure to condemn the PA’s embrace and rewarding of murderers of Jews that contributes so much to the seemingly intractable Arab-Israeli conflict.

America’s moral justification for attacking not just al Qaeda but also Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, was based on the argument that those who give safe haven to terrorists are as responsible as the terrorists, and that therefore the Taliban could be attacked for giving safe haven to al Qaeda.

‘Voice of American Jewry’: Israel Guilty of Arab Teen’s Murder

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) claims on its site and its Facebook page that it “is the representative voice of the organized American Jewish community.” While that may be news to many American Jews, even more of them will be loathe to accept that description after reviewing the JCPA’s latest press release.

The public statement, “JCPA Mourns Palestinian Teenager, Calls for an End to Violence,” was posted on its website just after mid-day on Wednesday, July 2, less than 12 hours after news that an Arab teenage boy had been found dead in Jerusalem.

And yet, although JCPA President Rabbi Steven Gutow noted in the statement that, “the circumstances of his death remain uncertain,” the same sentence then takes a sharp turn and places the blame squarely on Israel: “it appears that Mohammed was not a party to nor instigator of the tragic events of recent days and weeks. But he now has paid the ultimate price regardless.”

So although no one yet knows for certain how the teenager died or who was responsible, the JCPA publicly drew a target on the back of the Jewish State. Not content to simply act as judge and jury, the JCPA proceeded to send out the statement to its members across the country, inviting everyone to embrace its judgment – that Israel or individual Israelis are responsible for the abu Khaider’s murder, and pronouncing the murder a revenge attack.

It is important to mourn the loss of a teenager’s life whether it is a member of your own family or a stranger, and true leaders take the opportunity to model that behavior. Many of Israel’s top leadership immediately condemned the murder of abu Khaider, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barakat and several Knesset members. Even, and most incredibly, the Yifrach family, the family of Eyal Yifrach – one of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped and murdered and buried just yesterday – condemned the killing. That statement was unequivocal:

There is no differentiating between blood and blood, murder is murder, whatever the nationality or age. There’s no justification, no forgiveness, and no redemption for any murder.

It may be, when the investigation is complete, that Israelis were responsible and that it was an act of revenge for the kidnapping and murder of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar. And if that is the case, the guilty must be condemned and punished. The murder of innocents is always tragic, whether the guilty are our friends or the victims are our family.

But until the investigation is complete, no one can – and no one should – say why Mohammed abu Khaider was killed, or by whom.

And yet, the JCPA rushed to put out a public statement less than 24 hours after the death was discovered. And in that statement the JCPA presented itself as judge, jury and sound system with a verdict of guilt for Israel.

Why the rush? It took the JCPA 3 days to condemn the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers. Perhaps that was due to an abundance of caution – one would not want to falsely accuse anyone. If so, why the different standard here?

Perhaps the JCPA’s goal was to present themselves as the “good Jews,” the ones who not only condemn the murder of an Arab but who rush blindly forward with its finger pointed at the “bad Jews,” the Israeli Jews, the ugly, violent Israeli Jews who would do such a thing, and to heck with truth and facts and evidence.

Because if the goal was to help to reduce violence, to help shepherd the masses poised to strike back to a path towards calm, the JCPA statement will only achieve the opposite. The statement will fuel the fire of hatred by anti-Semites who readily believe Israelis should be punished for Mohammad’s death, whether or not Israelis are guilty. And look, here’s an official Jewish coalition, officially blaming Israel! It will also inflame anger towards those whom JCPA claims to represent by supporters of Israel who believe that the Jewish State is entitled to the presumption of innocence at least until strong evidence is produced pointing in the opposite direction.

If Co-Existence is Impossible, Then What?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

We found out that the three boys, Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, were murdered shortly after their abduction. I’m sure we’ll hear the full story, in horrifying detail, at some point.

I can’t imagine how the families must feel. Or rather, I can imagine it but I am certain that their actual experience must be far worse than what I can imagine.

There have been so many terrorist murders, so many murders of children. The Ma’alot massacre, The bus of blood, the Haran family, the Sbarro bombing, the Dolphinarium, the Fogel family. The Palestinians and their supporters tell you it is “resistance to occupation” but in fact it is pure evil, hate made substance. Hate made flesh.

The Left says that it is our fault that they are doing these things because we are not giving them what they want. But what if what they want is to kill us?

Societies protect themselves against murderous criminals by killing or imprisoning them in order to separate them from normal society.

“If a man comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” Good advice, but how do we follow it when a whole culture has been created out of the idea that they should kill us?

The Palestinian people have demonstrated by the whole-hearted support shown for the kidnappers, the murderers, that they are satisfied with the path they have taken, the path of hate.

The problem is not a few extremists or criminals or terrorists who need to be killed or captured. The problem is a culture whose essence is to negate ours. These acts will not stop until the culture changes or dies out, or we completely separate ourselves from it. I don’t think our society can tolerate living as a target of terrorism forever.

First we have to decide that yes, we want our society, the Jewish people, to survive, and to continue to do so in its historic homeland. It’s not such a forgone conclusion — many, especially the intellectual elite among us are not so sure. But let’s suppose that we do. Since the nature of the Palestinian Arab culture is not under our control, since we can’t educate them or change them, our survival depends on separation and deterrence.

Then we need to look at geography and military realities. What territories do we need to control as a necessary condition for our survival? Authorities agree that the Jordan Valley and the high ground of Judea and Samaria must remain under our control. This isn’t a political issue, and we don’t need to bring in the spiritual dimension to decide this. It is simply a fact that follows from the topography of the region.

But some of the area that is essential is heavily populated by Arabs, many of whom belong to terror organizations and most of whom wouldn’t accept Jewish sovereignty.

Caroline Glick is probably correct that annexation of all of Judea and Samaria wouldn’t create an Arab majority. She estimates that the Arab population of Israel would go from about 20% to about 30%. She believes that the same relationship that has been established with the Israeli Arabs could be extended to the Arabs of the territories.

The lesson I have drawn from these murders is that she is not correct. It won’t work. This marriage cannot be saved. The educational enterprise of Yasser Arafat and his followers, aided by the West, has succeeded — perhaps beyond expectations. There is no going back. The Palestinian Arabs will not, cannot, coexist with the Jewish people.

The Curse of Cain

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

After Cain killed his brother, the Lord told him, “A fugitive and a wanderer shalt thou be in the earth.”

But the natural order has been reversed, instead the Abels, if they survive, become homeless wanderers and the Cains build their Caliphates on the tombs of their victims.

“Cursed shall you be from the earth,” the Lord said, and so it has been.

The earth under their feet may be cursed, it yields nothing but sand and thistles, but they are nomads, forgetting agriculture, remembering only their tradecraft of murder. They become worshipers of death dreaming of the green verdant fields of paradise which they can reach only if they kill enough men, women and children.

Leaving devastation behind them, dead lands, lost cultures, widows and orphans, they claw their way up to heaven on a ladder of bones.

Everything around them dies until the only green is on their flags. They are cursed from the earth and they curse the earth. Where they go, the world dies.

It is not murder that makes it impossible for Abel to live with Cain says the State Department, says the European Union and says the New York Times. It is Abel’s fields and houses that provoke Cain.

The PLO formed a unity government with Hamas and the loud voice of consensus, the voice of men who imagine that they become god when they speak in a single voice, is that it was the Israeli houses that were to blame. It is not Cain’s fault that he kills. It is Abel’s fault that he builds.

Of the three kidnapped and murdered boys, two Israeli and one American, Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times wrote, “Palestinians… see the very act of attending (school) yeshiva in a West Bank settlement as provocation.”

Abel is forever provoking Cain who rises up and kills him. And if only Abel hadn’t had so many sheep, if only he hadn’t built so well, if only he hadn’t made the desert bloom, if only he hadn’t won so many wars and if only G-d didn’t appear to favor him.

Cain sows fields of corpses of the innocent for the Lord and he still does not understand why his sacrifice is not accepted and why the earth he dwells on is cursed.

Abel does his best to appease Cain with gifts of earth, but the earth is useless to Cain. What good is cursed earth to cursed men? What can a man plant in the desert? What can he harvest when everything dies at his touch? All he can offer is a harvest of death.

That is what he brings to the faintly remembered Creator he calls Allah. From Iraq to Iran, from Kuwait to Saudi Arabia, from Nigeria to Somalia, from Pakistan to Indonesia, he holds up human heads and cries, “Allahu Akbar.”

As if G-d needs such petty proofs of superiority.

Cain cannot be appeased with earth. The earth is his curse. All that lives hates him and he hates all that lives. He tortures animals and raises dead crops. He kills his daughters and sisters, his mother, the source of his life and the source of his future, for the same honor that made Cain the first killer.

There is no use negotiating with Cain. There is no compromise that he will accept. Cain is his own curse. He loves death and that is all he will ever have. His acolytes cry, “We love death, you love life.”

Cain was meant to wander the earth. To be a rootless nomad whose curse of death would not collect in any single place. He was not meant to build kingdoms of death. He was not meant to rule over a Caliphate of death and a culture of death.

What Do I Tell My Children (About the Boys)?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

The devastating news reverberates throughout the Jewish world. Our worst fears have been confirmed. We won’t be able to #bringbackourboys. It’s over. And for now, we mourn.

But many of us are struggling to unravel the Gordian Knot of emotions, religious meaning, spiritual devotion, time, effort, energy we’ve put into these last few weeks. For those of us who are parents of children who have been aware of the ordeal, many of us are wondering what we tell our children? But all of us are also wondering, what do we tell ourselves?!

Perhaps the wisest thing I’ve ever heard about tragedy was something Fred Rogers quoted from his mother. He said that his mother would comfort him during challenging times with a pithy thought. “Look for the helpers.” So simple and so sublime.

For every wicked person in the world wreaking havoc and destroying lives, there are many more good people in the world who are helping others and fixing the things that were broken by the evil people. Our minds focus on the outliers and the ones who make the most noise. But for every person doing the wrong thing, there are more people doing the right thing. We should not allow the pain to dominate us so completely that we forget that there is enough light in the world to outweigh the darkness.

Most of all, we can all be one of the helpers. Say something nice. Do something kind. Find empathy. Spread love.

Children need to be reminded of this even more than adults. If they know that something sad has happened because of bad people, remind your children to look for the helpers.

The emotions of a child are likely to be their primary concern. Most kids aren’t as worried about theology as adults. Adults have tougher questions and life experiences that demand a response. Here’s what I say today: (For children who do worry about this kind of thing, I think the following would be just as applicable.)

For believers, there is a real struggle between belief and doubt. When we pray, we are hopeful and optimistic, and we want to believe. When we are crushed and depressed, we experience doubt. The human mind seeks to make peace between these two warring factions. We want to be certain about our beliefs and if we aren’t certain that our beliefs are true, our mind’s next option is to be certain that our beliefs are false. The last resort, and option that is to avoided at all costs, is the grey area in the middle. That place where our doubt and our yearning for certainty are at loggerheads. We don’t want to be in that place.

Yet, that is where life happens. The place of contradiction and confusion is where all the action is. We want to reject it so badly and be certain of everything being true on one side or if not, everything is a lie, for sure. But it just isn’t that way at all and we need to embrace that. We are not going to understand everything. It’s a limitation of being a physical being with limited resources. We can’t really be certain of anything which means that the best we can do is to expect a clash of feelings and thoughts.

What do we do with these conflicting ideas rattling in our brain? What do we do when our heart says one thing and our mind says another? What do we do when we want to be mad at God but we also want God to make it all better? Indeed, what do we do?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fink-or-swim/what-do-i-tell-my-children-about-the-boys/2014/07/02/

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